Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My review on IT facts of 2013

It's December 31st, 2013. It's been a good year for innovation on all fronts with a lot of interesting products, services and releases of my favorite applications, so I want to write a post to talk about the IT things that have attracted my attention during these last 12 months.

First of all I am positively impressed by the release of the last Nokia Tablet, the Lumia 2520, as well as by the release of the Microsoft Surface 2. Both these tablets have been well-engineered and nicely built. The Nokia Lumia 2520, featuring a Qualcomm SnapDragon 800 CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 10.1" display, impresses me for its refreshing design and its cool colors. On the other side, the Microsoft Surface 2, featuring a quad-core ARM Cortex-A15, 2GB of RAM and a 10.6" display, despite its industrial design, inspires me more thanks to its USB 3.0 port, to its kickstand (especially useful when watching movies), for its crisp text during web browsing, and, from a general point of view, for its versatility.

Speaking of these two tablets, I must say that I am really in love with the last Microsoft operating system, Windows 8.1, and its ARM-oriented version, Windows RT 8.1, that you will find on those two tablets. This OS is really powerful, modern, colorful and, despite all you might have heard, much better than good old Windows 7.

I have been using Windows 8.1 for a few months now and I really can't live without the Metro interface and its smart search engine which looks for file and/or applications on your local hard-drive, in your Skydrive folder and on the web (via Bing, naturally) at the same time.

Windows 8.1 omnisearch
My piece of advice here: forget the Start button and move to the Metro interface as fast as you can. Windows 8 (and 8.1) are more than just a new way of thinking about the desktop interface for Microsoft; it is a major bet that touch is the future of computing and you better get accustomed to the change. Don't worry about the Windows App Store, because it will for sure grow up in size to match those by Google and Apple, and all major Apps are already there: TripAdvisor, Facebook, NetFlix, Twitter, Skype, Shazam, Tunein Radio, or the brilliant new Microsoft RDP (kudos for this from every Windows IT guy out there).

For the moment the only negative point I have found in Windows 8.1 is that background apps temporarily stops until they are brought back to foreground. The technical cause for this? Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have been built to be efficient and perform well. One of the ways this is accomplished is by suspending any application that's not currently on the show. When you replace an app on the screen, that app is maintained in RAM but it is no longer processed. This allows the user to maintain a large number of apps without degrading performance or reducing the oh-so-important battery life. The downside to this life-cycle is that when your app isn't on the screen, it's no longer running. I find this particularly disturbing when listening to YouTube videos that suddenly stop when I move them to the background. The only workaround I have found for the moment, is to open Internet Explorer 11 in Desktop Mode (Windows Key + R, and type iexplore). This actually works, but feel free to suggest in the comments any other workaround that worked for you.

At the end of 2013 it looks like everyone is moving to the Cloud. Me too. I have explored many ways to storing my data into a Cloud solutions and have been deceived most of the times for now. I started testing the solution of a rapidly growing German start-up, named Owncloud, and have been deceived by the number of bugs which make this application unsafe for storing data.

OwnCloud user interface
The idea behind Owncloud is pretty cool: to give users the possibility to have (and therefore own and manage) their on-premise Cloud server. Unfortunately the community behind Owncloud is quite small, and most of the expert users are oriented toward installing the engine on Linux and can't help newcomers to install it in a Windows environment. Also, each update is risky and if you have large amounts of data stored in the database, the performance decreases. Last not so good point, there is an app for Android smartphones, but it does an average job of sync with files, and does not sync the calendar at all, which is one of the basic features I would expect from their solution. Anyhow Owncloud 6 has just been released and I hope that the Owncloud founder Frank Karlitschek (@fkarlitschek) will broaden the support for Owncloud on Windows platforms.

I have of course also tested free apps, like Dropbox or Skydrive. Both are brilliant but, apart from the well-known privacy problems everybody is aware of, I find the amount of free allowed storage really small in our technology era where data get deduplicated on hosting servers (7GB for Skydrive is way too limited and not everyone is willing to buy a Windows Phone for getting 20GB more).

Concerning Skydrive, I have been tempted by the nice interface of this Public Cloud solution and decided to give a try to the Pro version. I set up a full grown SharePoint 2013 environment sitting on the new Windows 2012 R2 operating system, and activated the Skydrive Pro replica between my folders and this on-premise cloud. Everything worked well, much better than with Owncloud anyway, but I felt let down when I discovered that:
- the picture library does not sync
- you can sync up to a maximum of 20k items in your personal SkyDrive Pro document library
- you can't sync more than 5k items in other SharePoint libraries

So, even if this idea of storing files in the Cloud looks good, I will wait for a friendly, generous (in terms of gigabytes and services) and solid solution, be it on-premise or off-premise, before I change the way I store my data. I will let the big competitors in this field (read Microsoft, Amazon, Google and a few others) fight for the win and eventually choose the most valid Cloud Storage solution.

And if I am not yet completely ready for the Cloud, I am years away from having my washing machine or my fridge connected to the Internet of Things, nor I can imagine my neighbor debugging IPV6 addressing problems on his dishwasher. So, despite what has been said, there are other buzzwords in my head for the moment and Internet of Things is not on my list at the end of 2013, even do I must say I have been fairly impressed by the Italian Arduino micro-controller that allows you to create objects that can really interact with their environment through different triggers and signals. It looks like Arduino (which was invented in 2005) is rapidly becoming the building block at the heart of the Internet of Things, as its low-power processor is easy to program while its range of controller pins makes it easy to connect to the outside world. I deeply suggest you follow Massimo Banzi (@mbanzi) and David Cuartielles (@dcuartielles), co-founders of this platform for the next step in this field.

I want now to go back for a moment to Windows 8.1, and to the new Microsoft policy for upgrades: it has changed since Microsoft has moved from a three-year upgrade cycle to a yearly one, and this is bringing very fast improved releases of my favorite administration language: Windows Powershell. I don't want to rewrite a history of Powershell (I already did this), but just mention that this language is quickly becoming the de-jure standard for Windows system administration and the de-facto standard for third-party application management (VMWare, NetAPP, HP, just to mention a few).

With Powershell (like with VB before), there is in the community the annual habit of organizing some sort of Scripting Games to determine who's the best scripter around. Starting January 2014, the Winter Scripting Games will be a team event and for sure this will add to the fun of the competition. I heatedly suggest everybody reading this post to quickly join a team and find teammates to learn this wonderful language and compare with other Windows admins from all around the world. It could be also the occasion for Linux/Unix administrators to take part in the game and discover the power of this new object-oriented administration language and see how it compares with other standards such as Bash, Python or Perl. I will come back on the Games in a future post, but if you are eager to know more, follow these smart people on Twitter: Don Jones (@concentrateddon), Mike F Robbins (@mikefrobbins) and Richard Siddaway (@RSiddaway).

I previously mentioned the fight for emerging as the biggest Cloud provider out there. Well, there are many other interesting fights on the way, which is important to be aware of and that will determine the future of IT. A few examples? 
  • Skydrive, forget that name: Microsoft has lost the right to use this name since Sky users couldn't tell the difference. Which name Microsoft will adopt next?
  • Powershell, a name that Logitech has picked without realizing that Microsoft had grasped it before for its administration language. Will we see them in Court? 
  • YouTube: Microsoft wants a YouTube app on its phones, but Google (which, according to Amazon, is having a solid success with its new Chromebooks) is doing everything it can to block it. It looks like Windows Phone is starting to scare Android.
I don't even want to mention the battle between CPU manufacturers, like Intel or AMD. 2014 will be a year of tremendous change for both, since the market dynamics are shifting and new markets have started to grow at high speed. Intel has started backing Bay Trail and Haswell-based systems across multiple OS and at price points that compete against ARM-powered Android tablets. And next year Intel will push this strategy further, offering multiple Broadwell families, and in particular the Broadwell-Y, which should compete with chips from ARM both on performance and on TDP. A post-PC era has started, and I am curious to see how historical CPU manufacturers will cope with the technology challenge set up by Qualcomm, ARM (today ARM chips power Apple's iPhones, and iPads, as well as a huge number of Android phones)Samsung and Apple, even if this last one, after years or leadership with the iPhone, is actually running out of tricks to impress me. The battle will be fierce.

Broadwell-Y is coming
I said before that Microsoft is delivering new Windows upgrades at an unrivaled frequency. This is also true for most of its products (it must be the Indian summer of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (@steveballmer), who, being Microsoft employed #30, was there since the beginning). And this high frequency is also true for its hypervisor: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 has in the end attained parity with VMWare in hypervisor functionality and is today ahead in Cloud offerings. Check expert VMWare VCDX Andrea Mauro (@Andrea_Mauro) blog for an in-deep comparison of technical specs between Microsoft Hyper-V and VMWare vSphere. Personally, I am a VMWare VCP and I have been a great fan of VMWare for many years. Today, while VMWare continues to dominate the market, I start to feel like I want to move more and more to the Microsoft solution, because it is cheaper, at least for the Full edition, and this is the one that I need, and because Microsoft offers the possibility to Hyper-V users to run their VM in the Windows Azure Cloud, extending the Private Cloud concept to make it Hybrid (and interesting I daresay). In addition Microsoft has understood that most people are well used to working with VMWare ESX and is giving away free Hyper-V and System Center training in order to change the market dynamics. At the same time Microsoft is providing the opportunity for a free Virtualization Certification when you request a free voucher for exam 74-409. Well played.

On the other side of the river there is VMWare. I am happy to see that they have released vSphere 5.5, but, let me say, the upgrade from vSphere 5.0 to 5.1 was a nightmare for most of us mainly due to the issues brought by the introduction of that piece of software that is Single Sign-On (SSO). According to VMWare, SSO is the first step toward true unification of VMware's various software components, but the truth is that they bought so many third-party applications that were difficult to integrate and needed some sort of mechanism to keep them all bound together. The result was poor.

In 2014 I will keep an eye on the evolution of server virtualization market since it is one of the most interesting from my point of view. I won't make any prediction since I am not an analyst, but one thing is sure: Microsoft and VMWare will continue their battle and IT pros will benefit from the competition.

In this post I want also to suggest a buzzword to follow next year: DevOps. You don't know what DevOps mean?  Well, a DevOps is not a person, nor a tool. It's a new way of thinking (and improving) the interactions (in terms of workflow and feedback from early stage to Prod) between software developers on one side and the operation on the other side. If you feel you want to know more about this concept, follow on Twitter the person who invented the word, Patrick Debois (@patrickdebois), and read this explanation by Simon Maple (@sjmaple) on TheServerSide.com.

I want to end this post suggesting all of my readers to start 2014 with the buy (if they haven't yet) of a Solid State Drive (SSD), since there is no better time of the year to treat yourself to a new bit of kit that will speed up your configuration. They are still expensive, but the technology behind is improving fast (Samsung has been able to produce a 1TB SSD, the Samsung 840 EVO, using an astonishing 19nm process) and sooner or later prices will drop.
1TB Samsung 840EVO SSD
Let me know if you agree with all the things I have written and feel free to suggest the things that made your 2013 and the things that you expect from 2014. For those living in France, see me at the Microsoft Techdays in Paris, where, as a Powershell MVP (which I became thanks to Martine Thiphaine @mthiphaine), I will be a speaker together with Fabien Dibot (@fdibot) on Powershell Remoting and on Powershell Tips and Tricks.

Wishing all of my readers all the best for 2014, I leave you with two jokes that made me smile:

thedailydose.com
cloudtweaks.com

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How to build a System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 lab - part 9

In this post we will install the actual System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 application. In the previous post you set up a new virtual machine named LAB2013VMM01 for hosting this application. Here you have to mount the SCVMM iso image and run setup.exe:


Click on install. By default none of the options are selected. However you can’t install the management server without installing the console, so when you check the first box, the second one will come along.


Enter your registration key:


Accepts the licence agreement:


Choose whether you want to take part in the CEIP (I suggest so, since this give important information to Microsoft aimed at improving the software):


Set Microsoft Update On (... or Off, if you are in a lab like me, since it’s no use):


Choose the folder where you want to install SCVMM into:


Now the install checks that all the prerequisites are met. If you get an alert telling you to you need at least 4GB of RAM, just modify the VM settings to conform, and VMWare Workstation will do that for you instantly, since it supports hot-add of memory. Hardcore.
Time to configure the connection to the MSSLQ DB:


Now configure SCVMM to use the service account (SCVMMsvc) you setup using Powershell in the previous post and enter the DN of the container for the keys: CN=SCVMMDKM,CN=System,DC=lab2013,DC=local


Review the port configuration (the note of the ports, you could need this if your network is internally firewalled):


Review the library configuration:


Save the installation summary to a text file for future reference:

Features selected to be added
 - VMM management server
 - VMM console
Installation Location
 - C:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center 2012 R2\Virtual Machine Manager\
Database Information
 - VirtualManagerDB database will be created on LAB2013SQL01
Service Account
 - LAB2013\SCVMMsvc
Communication Ports
 - 8100 - Communication with the VMM console
 - 5985 - Communication to agents on hosts and library servers
 - 443 - File transfers to agents on hosts and library servers
 - 8102 - Communication with Windows Deployment Services
 - 8101 - Communication with Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) agents
 - 8103 - Communication with Windows PE agent for time synchronization
Library Share Name and Location
 - MSSCVMMLibrary
 - C:\ProgramData\Virtual Machine Manager Library Files
Using Microsoft Update
 - No

Wait for the installation to complete:



It was long but there you are with a full grown SCVMM lab! Just connect to it and get accustomed to the interface:



In a future post I will explain how to configure networking on these Hyper-V servers (we will setup additional NICs for Management traffic), how to integrate them into SCVMM, how to setup a Cluster and how to setup your first VM, so stay tuned!

Friday, December 13, 2013

How to suspend and resume VMWare Workstation VMs using PowerShell

If you have ever made a lab in your home environment, you have probably used VMWare Workstation as preferred choice for running your virtual machines. However, in such a small all-in-a-host configuration, you could face the need to shutdown and restart your main computer (i.e. if you have just added some patches or some heavyweight applications), and this could be very unpractical if you have say 5 or 6 VMs (or more!) running on top of it.

What you would like is to have the ability to suspend the state of these VMs so you can pick up where you left off after rebooting your host. And since we are in modern times, what you would like also is the ability to perform this operation with a Powershell script.

Unfortunately there is no API for Powershell in VMWare Workstation, but this program comes with another command which your Powershell script could be based on: vmrun.exe.

This utility can be used to control virtual machines and allows the following operations: start (power on), stop (power off), reset (reboot), suspend (but allow local work to resume), pause (without interrupting), and unpause (continue).

I had the idea to write two scripts. The first one is good for suspending VMs and should be using prior to rebooting your host (right click, open with Windows Powershell ISE):
cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation"

$RunningVMs = .\vmrun list | select-object -skip 1
 
Foreach ($RunningVM in $RunningVMs)
{
    "Suspending $RunningVM..."
    .\vmrun suspend "$RunningVM"
}
The second one is good for resuming your VMs to the exact state they were before the host rebooted:
cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation"

$SuspendedVMs = gci -Include *.vmx -Recurse -Path C:\VMs
 
Foreach ($SuspendedVM in $SuspendedVMs)
{
.\vmrun start "$SuspendedVM"
}
As you can understand the state of a VM is kept persistent across reboot since it's dumped to a .vmss file (whose name will look like this: vm001-82cc0131.vmss) and the RAM content is dumped to a .vmem file (such as vm001-82cc0131.vmem).

I hope this helps with your labs, and if you have the occasion, check out the new Hyper-V 2012 R2 role as a good alternative to VMWare Workstation.

Monday, December 9, 2013

How to build a System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 lab - part 8

In the previous post you saw how to configure SQL Server for your virtual infrastructure. In this post you will setup a sixth virtual machine named LAB2013VMM01 that will host your actual System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 installation. You will also go through all the prerequisites for SCVMM to work.



Under VMWare Workstation configure a new virtual machine and install Windows 2012 R2 with a GUI (even though it looks like you have the option to install SCVMM in Core mode starting from version 2012). Once the installation has ended, and you have deployed the VMWare tools, connect as a Domain Admin and use once again the basic configuration cmdlets:
Get-NetAdapter -Name Ethernet0 | % {
  $_ | Set-NetIPInterface -Dhcp Disabled
  $_ | New-NetIPAddress -IPAddress 192.168.134.17 -PrefixLength 24 -DefaultGateway 192.168.134.2
  $_ | Set-DnsClientServerAddress -ServerAddresses 192.168.134.10
}
Rename-Computer –NewName LAB2013VMM01 –Restart
netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state off
cscript C:\Windows\System32\Scregedit.wsf /ar 0
Add-computer –DomainName LAB2013.local –Restart
Time to review the four main prerequisites for SCVMM:
  • During the installation of a VMM management server, on the Configure service account and distributed key management page, you will need to configure the System Center Virtual Machine Manager service to use either the Local System account or a Domain account. You can change this later on, of course. If you choose to use a Domain account make it belong to the Local Administrators Group. In any case there are many reasons to choose to run SCVMM with a Domain account, though I am not going to detail this here.
  • During the installation of a VMM management server, you will need to configure Distributed Key Management. On the 'Configure service account and distributed key management' page of Setup, you can select to use Distributed Key Management to store encryption keys in Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) instead of storing the encryption keys on the computer on which the VMM management server is installed. The advantage of storing your keys in AD DS is that if you need to move your VMM installation to another computer, all your data are retained. Cool, uh? Also storing keys in AD DS is the only possible way if clustering your VMM. You must create a Container (i.e. SCVMMDKM) in AD DS before installing VMM. The domain account your created in the first step must have full rights on this Container.
  • The third prerequisite is to install Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) for Windows 8.1.
  • The fourth is to install SQL Server 2012 Command Line Utilities.
Remember that using a Domain Account and storing the encryption keys are two of the pillars of a Highly Available VMM Management Server, which is out of scope for my lab for now. Maybe I’ll come back on this topic in a future post.

The first two prerequisites are easily accomplished with Powershell:
On the Domain Cotroller (LAB2013AD01 in my case) type the following command to create a new account for SCVMM:
New-ADUser -Name "SCVMM Account" –SamAccountName SCVMMsvc -Description "SCVMM 2012 R2 Server Service Account" -Enabled $true -AccountPassword (Read-Host -AsSecureString "SCVMM Service Account Password")
Note the password you used! Now retrieve the SID of this new user account:
[System.Security.Principal.IdentityReference]$UserSid = (Get-ADUser scvmmsvc).SID
Create a variable containing the DN of your domain:
$ADRoot = (Get-ADDomain).DistinguishedName
Create the Active Directory Container:
New-ADObject -Name "SCVMMDKM" -Type Container –path “CN=System,$ADRoot” –passthru

DistinguishedName   Name                ObjectClass         ObjectGUID
-----------------   ----                -----------         ----------
cn=SCVMMDKM,CN=S... SCVMMDKM            container           59722f15-51af-4c...
Now retrieve the existing ACL of the Container (note the use of the AD: PSDrive):
$Acl = Get-Acl "AD:CN=SCVMMDKM,CN=System,$ADRoot"
Now the tricky part: you have to create the ActiveDirectoryAccessRule that goes into the AddAccessRule method. This object has six different constructors and each can be used for a different use case. Luckily we can check the syntax on MSDN or execute the following command:
[System.DirectoryServices.ActiveDirectoryAccessRule].GetConstructor
OverloadDefinitions ------------------- System.Reflection.ConstructorInfo GetConstructor(System.Reflection.BindingFlags bindingAttr, System.Reflection.Binder binder, System.Reflection.CallingConventions callConvention, type[] types, System.Reflection.ParameterModifier[] modifiers) System.Reflection.ConstructorInfo GetConstructor(System.Reflection.BindingFlags bindingAttr, System.Reflection.Binder binder, type[] types, System.Reflection.ParameterModifier[] modifiers) System.Reflection.ConstructorInfo GetConstructor(type[] types) System.Reflection.ConstructorInfo _Type.GetConstructor(System.Reflection.BindingFlags bindingAttr, System.Reflection.Binder binder, System.Reflection.CallingConventions callConvention, type[] types, System.Reflection.ParameterModifier[] modifiers) System.Reflection.ConstructorInfo _Type.GetConstructor(System.Reflection.BindingFlags bindingAttr, System.Reflection.Binder binder, type[] types, System.Reflection.ParameterModifier[] modifiers) System.Reflection.ConstructorInfo _Type.GetConstructor(type[] types)
To give the SCVMMsvc user account full rights on the SCVMMDKM Container you need to choose a constructor that accepts:
  • An IdentityReference object that identifies the trustee of the access rule. It is the SID of the user account SCVMMsvc.
  • The access rights that are assigned to an Active Directory Domain Services object. You will use GenericAll because it gives the right to create or delete children, delete a subtree, read and write properties, examine children and the object itself, add and remove the object from the directory, and read or write with an extended right.
  • An AccessControlType: Allow or Deny
$Ace = New-Object System.DirectoryServices.ActiveDirectoryAccessRule $UserSid, "GenericAll", "Allow"
$Acl.AddAccessRule($Ace)
Set the Acl:
Set-Acl -aclobject $Acl "AD:CN=SCVMMDKM,CN=System,$ADRoot"
The last step you have to perform to met the first two prerequisite is to add the new SCVMMsvc account to to local administrator group on your SCVMM server LAB2013VMM01:
([ADSI]"WinNT://LAB2013VMM01/Administrators,group").psbase.Invoke("Add",([ADSI]"WinNT://LAB2013.local/SCVMMsvc").path)
Easy, right?
Now, for Windows ADK, you can find it here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-eg/download/details.aspx?id=39982 It’s a small file (1.4MB) named adksetup.exe.

The two features that you need for SCVMM are Deployment Tools and Windows PE:

The installer will download these features (that’s why it is so important to have proper internet connection and a valid DNS forwarding in your LAB). This can take a significant amount of time depending on download speed.

You can take a walk here since this step is pretty long download. When you come back the Windows ADK will be finished and you will see the following window:

Now install the SQL Server 2012 Command Line Utilities from the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Feature Pack. You can download them from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29065

The installation ends quickly since there are no prerequisites to meet under Windows 2012 R2:

Restart this virtual machine since you made a lot of modifications (this step is not required but I suggest you to do so):
Now you have all the SCVMM prerequisites met. Time to install System Center, which I will explain in the next post!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How to build a System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 lab - part 7

In the last post I showed you how to connect the ISCSI initiators to the ISCSI targets. The next step of your System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 lab is to setup a database server running Microsoft SQL Server.


There is something important to tell here since I have already been asked about it: SCVMM 2012 R2 doesn’t ship with an embedded SQL database, so you have to setup a separate SQL Server machine to host this functionality. The following list shows the SQL Server editions that are compatible with this version of VMM:
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard and Datacenter (64-bit) with Service Pack 2 or greater
  • SQL Server 2012 Enterprise and Standard (64-bit) with or without Service Pack 1
Also, when installing SQL you must configure a case-insensitive instance and the following features must be installed:
  • Database Engine Services
  • Management Tools
Let’s see this in detail. You will proceed to the installation of a virtual machine named LAB2013SQL01 running Windows 2012 R2 configured with a GUI.
During the setup of the virtual machine under VMWare workstation, you better had a 100GB (or less if you don't have that space free)  secondary disk to host the database:


The installation proceeds as usual:


Same as for the other virtual machines, define a password for the local administrator, install the VMWare tools, restart. Once restarted; here are the precious commands to run in order:
Get-NetAdapter -Name Ethernet0 | % {
  $_ | Set-NetIPInterface -Dhcp Disabled
  $_ | New-NetIPAddress -IPAddress 192.168.134.16 -PrefixLength 24 -DefaultGateway 192.168.134.2
  £_ | Set-DnsClientServerAddress -ServerAddresses 192.168.134.10
}
Rename-Computer –NewName LAB2013SQL01 –Restart
netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state off
cscript C:\Windows\System32\Scregedit.wsf /ar 0
Add-computer –DomainName LAB2013.local –Restart
Get-Disk –number 1 | % {
  $_ | Set-disk  –isreadonly 0
  $_ | Set-disk –isoffline 0
  $_ | initialize-disk –partitionstyle GPT
  $_ | new-partition –driveletter “G” –usemaximumsize
  Initialize-volume –driveletter “G” –filesystem NTFS –confirm:$false
}
   Disk Number: 1

PartitionNumber  DriveLetter Offset                                        Size Type
---------------  ----------- ------                                        ---- ----
2                G           135266304                                 99.87 GB Basic

DriveLetter     : G
DriveType       : Fixed
FileSystem      : NTFS
FileSystemLabel :
HealthStatus    : Healthy
ObjectId        : \\?\Volume{29917e16-05b7-46f9-ba33-96eba86201d0}\
Path            : \\?\Volume{29917e16-05b7-46f9-ba33-96eba86201d0}\
Size            : 107237863424
SizeRemaining   : 107121639424
PSComputerName  :
Now mount the SQL Server iso file (mine is named en_sql_server_2012_enterprise_edition_with_sp1_x64_dvd_1227976.iso). Before starting the actual installation, run SQL System Configuration Checker to be sure that everything is ok with your VM:


Once the Configuration Checker has finished, start the installation for real:


When asked for, choose the features we mentioned before:


Modify the instance root directory to reflect the partition you set up (should be G:\):


Review the disk space requirements for SQL Server 2012:


Configure the services accounts (feel free to create specific account in the Active Directory for your SQL installation):


Specify the authentication mode to Windows Authentication Mode and specify the name of the SQL administrator:


Check that the data directories are properly set:


Wait for the installation to finish and you’re done with the SQL Server VM!


Fine, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel: in the next post you will go through the prerequisites for the actual System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 server installation. Stay tuned!
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